JAN. 7– The Hardin County School System’s library computer network has been hacked and is being held for ransom, according to school officials.
An unknown organization or individual has infiltrated the network serving all seven libraries and inserted a “ransomware” program. The malicious software is designed to block access to a computer system until the demanded money is paid.
“We’ve heard about this kind of thing happening elsewhere,” said Hardin County Director of Schools Michael Davis, “but who would have ever thought it would happen here? This is the craziest thing I think I’ve ever seen.”
The hackers locked the library server system and encrypted all the files. They say they will send a code to undo the hack when paid.
The library server system tracks every book in every library in the school’s system. Without it, the libraries have no way other than old-fashioned paper and pencil to check books out to students or keep track of what books are out.
There is also no access to any kind of card catalog. Students can’t research where a needed book is in the library to help them find it on the shelves, for research projects or in-library reading.
“Our libraries aren’t completely shut down, but they surely aren’t going to be running full-throttle until we get this fixed,” said Levin Edwards, Hardin County Schools’ technology director.